Team Quick Step has ensured its future for at least another two years, as billionaires Zdenĕk Bakala and Bessel Kok have purchased a majority share in the team's management company, run by team manager Patrick Lefevere.
Bakala is said to have provided enough money for the team to run through at least 2013. Quick Step will remain the sole name sponsor.
Bakala said that, “The team has proven itself as one of the most successful cycling teams with fantastic riders, professional management and support staff. I am delighted to become part of this exciting team.”
Lefevere added: "We have worked very hard in the past few months to reach this agreement. We're very satisfied of having reached this goal. This agreement will allow the team as well as the people who work for the team to have a guaranteed future even after 2011. From now on we will be able to focus on next season and on building the team for the near future. Our objective, as usual, is to win prestigious awards. Quick Step will stay as the main sponsor for the 2011 season. All remaining partners of the team also confirmed their commitment for next season."
The move is also expected to facilitate the transfer of cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar to the Belgian road team. Earlier this week the Czech confirmed rumours that he is on the verge of leaving Telenet Fidea for Quick Step, and then combining road and 'cross races.
Bakala is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and the Dartmouth School of Business. He has a variety of financial interests, including shares in coal company New World Resources and the Ukrainian iron ore producer Ferrexpo. He also founded Patria Finance, one of the largest investment banking firms in the Czech Republic.